Presenting Fusion Doc Challenge finalists Erin Babbin and Michael Sullivan
What’s your Fusion Doc Challenge film about?
“Do You See What I See?” follows politically minded, Chicago artist Michael Bryant to his childhood home in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Englewood while discussing cowboys, politicians, hope and desperation. The film is as universal as it is specific to Chicago on issues of poverty, politics, and struggle.
How did you choose your subject?
We met Michael Bryant several years ago while covering Project Onward, a Chicago based organization that benefits underprivileged and disabled artists where he makes art and writes. He immediately grabbed our attention with his art and sense of humor. We chose Michael as our subject for this documentary because he offers a unique, though often neglected perspective and has always been very open about discussing just about anything with us.
That was the hardest thing about the challenge?
The hardest part of the Doc Challenge is always the edit. With so little time to nitpick and perfect the cut, you have to trust that you’re going in the right direction. We’re so wrapped up in it that by day 4 that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. To help with this we got feedback on the rough cut from a group of close friends whose opinions we trust Annie Jacobs, Nick Jirasek and Molly Feingold. Their advice was invaluable in helping to shape the final cut of the film.
What was the best thing about the challenge?
The best thing about the Doc Challenge is getting to dedicate a concentrated amount of time and energy towards telling someone’s story.
What’s your biggest take away from the challenge?
Set deadlines for yourself. It’s really the best way to get things done. Also, get in shape. Someday you might have to ride your bike 20 miles with all your gear on your back in order to get that shot.
What is on the docket now for your film career/What are you working on?
We have some long term projects that are still cooking, and we’ve been doing some great work with the University of Chicago lately. Also, our 2014 Fusion Doc Challenge film Wake Up is still making the rounds! In 2015 Wake Up has screened at The San Francisco Doc Fest, Docuwest International Film Fest in Denver, and the Toronto Indie Doc Fest. Wake Up is nominated for a Best Short Doc Award at Blowup International Arthouse Film Fest in Chicago, and will screen in Hamburg, Germany, on Dec. 19th for the Hammerbrook Film Festival.
Anything else you want your audience to know?
Keep up with everything On The Real Film is doing at ontherealfilm.com where we list screenings and post new work regularly.
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